I was told recently that I need to get my “elevator pitch” together.  Basically, that is a 20-30 second version of what you do for a living and why it is valuable.  A luxury event planner does so many different things. Similarly, the owner of a business wears many different hats, so it’s tough for me to summarize that down and not leave anything really important out.  But it’s a good challenge to try to break something down in order to really find its deepest truth.  After some long thought I think the simplest way to tell others what I do is that as a luxury event planner, I create experiences that are unique, personal and unforgettable. 

A great example of each of those points is the last social event I planned: the 60th birthday celebration for an extremely accomplished mountain climber.

The guest of honor of this 60th birthday party is an avid mountain climber and has completed the Seven Summits (climbing the tallest mountain on each continent).  His wife wanted to have a party worthy of both his 60th birthday and his passion and accomplishments in life, so I told her I would bring Everest to her.  I wanted guests to feel like they were going to Mount Everest, and that began with the invitations.  The experience started in their own homes when they received a postcard from Everest Base Camp telling them that they couldn’t wait for their arrival, and what to expect when they got there.

The adventure continued when they arrived.  As guests walked down the patio entrance to the party they were in Kathmandu, Nepal, just as if they were climbers making their way to the mountain.  As soon as they turned the corner they entered the journey through the various camps (mountain climbers on Everest have to make their way to the different camps, acclimating themselves to the mountain before they can ultimately summit).  The four camps were represented each by tents, with the scene truly set and so many different details to look at.  Finally, as guests went through the garland wall of snow, they were greeted by a custom ice sculpture of mount Everest and ushered onto the summit where everything was perfectly pristine and white.

This event was perfectly tailored for the guest of honor.  Not only is he an amazingly accomplished man, but he also is my father-in-law, so this event meant even more for me to have it perfect.  Each space in the event had examples where personal details were considered.  I knew that even if every guest didn’t notice the details, he would and that it would mean the world to him.  A tradition of the Nepalese culture is to ask climbers to take prayer flags they have made up the mountain and hang them so that as the wind blows through them their prayers are answered.  These colorful and meaningful flags had to be a part of this event.  As part of the invitation we asked guests to write a special birthday wish or message on their prayer flag and to bring it to the party with them.  They were then hung in a special display and later put in a memory book as a keepsake.

Keepsakes are an important part of adventuring around the whole world, and my father-in-law has the most amazing collection of rocks, artifacts and pictures of his climbs.  I really wanted his guests to have the chance to see all of these things so I created a mini museum display.  The highlight of this museum was a 12-foot by 8-foot world map wall that showed where all of the Seven Summits are located and had interesting facts about them and when he summited them.  It was a personal and experiential part of the event that meant so much to my father-in-law to see his accomplishments come to life. 

The blend of all of the elements of this event made it truly unforgettable for both the guest of honor and his family and friends. It brought them all together in a new way.  My father-in-law’s passion for mountain climbing is something that is difficult to truly share with others fully.  He has occasionally been able to climb with his family or friends and share experiences with them, but the highest peaks have been ones on the other side of the world, away from the familiar.  By bringing the tallest mountain on earth to where his family and friends are, he was able to share a piece of those adventures with them directly.  In the same way, his family and friends got a chance to see and hear his mountaineering adventures in a more tangible way and can become even more connected to him in sharing those memories.  

Design & Coordination - Renee Elise Luxury Events
Venue - Venue by Three Petals
Catering - Jay's Catering
Photography - Gavin Wade Photography, and Kintano Photography
Videography - Weddings by Lex
DJ & Lighting - Dymond Entertainment
Rentals - Classic Party Rentals - Orange County
Theme Props - RWB Party Props
Ice Sculpture - Bringing Water to Life

Renee Gibbons